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In always-polite Japan, KFC has low-smell fried chicken so you won’t bother people on the train

KFC Japan wants to help keep the smell of your finger-lickin’ good meal out of other passengers’ noses.

The decorations are up and all the stores are playing carols, which means that the next thing on most people’s Christmas to-do list in Japan is to secure some fried chicken. As Japan’s go-to Christmas party meal, demand for fried chicken skyrockets in December, with KFC being by far the country’s favorite supplier.

However, this is still Japan, so even when dealing with something as mouthwatering as deep-fried bird, good manners and consideration for others remain of eminent importance. That’s why KFC is selling a new type of fried chicken with a repressed scent, so that your take-out order doesn’t bother other people on the train you’re riding home with its smell.

Called the Fried Chicken Home Type, this special variety is available only at KFC Station, a dedicated take-out store located near the A8 exit of Shinjuku subway station in downtown Tokyo, near the gates to the Marunouchi Line trains (though you don’t need to buy a ticket to access the shop).

Aside from fried chicken, KFC Station also sells a few sides, such as coleslaw, corn salad, pot pie, and smoked chicken. The star of the menu, though, is the Fried Chicken Home Type, with two pieces selling for 500 yen (US$4.50).

KFC claims that the Home Type’s cooking method locks in flavor and aroma, and true to its word, we had to press our noses right up against the plastic container to detect even the faintest whiff of fried chicken, and from any greater distance we didn’t notice it at all.

But it turns out that Home Type isn’t completely devoid of that delicious (if you’re the one who gets to eat it) fried chicken scent.

Home Type is sold at room temperature, so after we got back to the office, we popped the Home Type into the microwave to warm it up. Two minutes later, we opened the microwave door, and were greeted with the familiar smell of ordinary KFC fried chicken. We then took a bite and were happy to find it tastes just like regular KFC chicken too.

So the Home Type really is the best of both worlds. It lets you carry as much chicken home on the train as you like without fear of causing olfactory offense, but gives up nothing in the eating experience once you’re back in the privacy of your own home.

However, KFC Station, which started operations on the first of the month, will only be open until December 31. Still, that’s enough time to pick up some low-smell chicken for your Christmas party, and, should you find yourself craving a repeat, a New Year’s party too.

Shop information
KFC Station / KFC ステーション
Location: Marunouchi Shinjuku Station, Promenade A8 exit area
丸ノ内線新宿駅 プロムナードA8出入口付近
Open noon-9 p.m. (noon-8 p.m. on December 31)

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